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I've been unsuccessful with a Natty upgrade, in this sense: I'm unable to use anything but a Metacity theme ("Ubuntu Classic (No effects)"). So I lost all my Compiz effects, the most valuable of which, for me, was the grid layout tool. I think the problem is confused Radeon/ATI driver issues -- fglrx was dead on arrival with the update, and falling back to the generic ATI driver gets me Metacity but not Compiz.

I'm now considering preserving my /home directory and doing a clean install of Natty on my system drive. Unity works decently well on a USB drive boot -- not that I'm especially fond of it, but I want to give it a fair shake. Presumably it will work with a clean install.

But I'm frankly concerned about all the hidden gnome and X configuration files in my restored home directory. When I plop my old homedir onto a new 11.04 system install with all my old packages, what's going to happen?

(amd64, RV710 Radeon HD 4550, dual monitors)

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What will happen is that you will simply preserve your settings and find you lost nothing.

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In fact it worked fine, with all the old config files in place. –  Mojo May 24 '11 at 16:20

This method of using Linux is by design! By not formatting the partition /home and just mounting it during installation you are basically saving all your settings: bookmarks, passwords for websites, local changes, launcher you changed and stored in your home, high scores of games etc etc.

Any settings used for the old version that conflicts with the new version should(!) be dealt with by the installer and the new installation.

The only cave-at is that programs that are removed from the default install (like rhythmbox got changed for Banshee) also keeps their settings. You need to manually remove them.

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